Sunday, February 9, 2020

Sunday Night Reflections

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Sunday's Soup/Rustic Potato Soup

I have really neglected the blog of late. Everything's fine, just life. I have been sewing, and I have been cooking, just not posting. 

The soup recipe that I'm sharing today is a favorite of mine during the cold winter months. Although, I don't make it that often as it does contain butter and cream. But, it's one that makes my husband smile, so from time to time, I figure, a little butter and a little cream is not going to be the end of the world ;)

Rustic Potato Soup
I call this a rustic soup as the skin is left on the potatoes, and it's not your typical creamy, potato soup. 

This soup came about because I had leftover small boiled potatoes. I'm sure the soup will be just fine, and taste just as good if you begin with raw potatoes. But, you will need to adjust the liquid as the raw potatoes may absorb more of the broth than the pre-boiled potatoes.   

I began with 1 pound of small golden potatoes that were previously boiled, and then sliced. Small red potatoes would work just as well. 

Heat the oil and the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the chopped onion. The butter will turn the onion a beautiful golden yellow. Saute the onion until tender. 

Add 1 cup of sliced small portobella mushrooms and cook until tender. They will turn a lovely dark brown. Add 2 cloves of minced garlic, and saute for about a minute just to release the flavor, but not burn the garlic. 

Add the sliced potatoes and allow them to saute in the onion and mushroom mixture until they just start to turn a little brown. This will only take a few minutes. To be honest, you could actually stop here and just enjoy the potatoes as they are :) But don't!!! I think you'll love the soup! 

Add 2 chopped carrots, 2 chopped stalks of celery, 1/2 cup wild rice, and 6 cups of vegetable broth. Stir in 1 teaspoon of rosemary, thyme, and sage, along with 2 bay leaves. Bring the soup mixture to a boil, reduce heat to simmer, and allow the soup to cook until the wild rice is tender, about 45 minutes. 

Once the wild rice is tender, add 1/2 cup of cream. The rice and the potatoes will thicken the soup, so adjust the consistency at this point by adding in more vegetable broth. Two more cups may be needed. Heat the soup over a low flame, and do not allow the soup to come to a boil once the cream has been added. Before serving, remove the bay leaves. 

Rustic Potato Soup
downloadable recipe

1 pound boiled small red or golden potatoes sliced
1 large yellow onion chopped
1 cup sliced small portobella mushrooms
2 cloves garlic minced 
2 large carrots chopped
2 stalks celery chopped
1/2 cup wild rice 
1 teaspoon dried sage
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 tablespoons butter
6-8 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup cream
salt and black pepper to taste


Heat olive oil and butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add onions and saute until tender. Add sliced mushrooms and cook until tender. Add minced garlic and saute for another minute to release garlic flavor, but not burn. 
Add sliced potatoes, and stir well into onion and mushroom mixture. Allow the potatoes to slightly brown. Add chopped carrots, celery, wild rice, and vegetable broth. Stir in sage, thyme, rosemary and bay leaves. Bring soup to a boil, reduce heat and cook on low heat until wild rice is tender, about 45 minutes. Stir in the cream, and adjust the thickness of the soup by adding more vegetable broth. Both the potatoes and the rice will absorb the liquid and make the soup rather thick. Up to 2 cups more of the vegetable broth may be needed to thin the consistency of the soup. 
Add salt and black pepper to taste. Simmer the soup on a low heat until heated through. Once the cream has been added, do not allow the soup to come to a boil. Before serving, remove bay leaves.

Ladle into soup dishes, and enjoy!

This is a hearty soup, perfect for winter. Serve with a nice slice of hearty bread.

This is a soul warming soup, at least for me. I hope that you'll enjoy it as much as I do.

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Sunday, January 26, 2020

Sunday Night Reflections

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Something Sweet on Sunday/An Orange Cake to Die For

Back before Christmas, I received the weekly email from Kevin Lee Jacobs. That particular week, he showcased a boiled orange cake that uses the entire orange. Yes, the peel and all!!! I was intrigued! As it turns out, the basic recipe is quite old. He changed up the original recipe a bit by using almond flour, so it's gluten free.

Begin by boiling 2 oranges for at least an hour. Boiling them for a little longer really helps to reduce the bitterness of the orange  peel. Once boiled, just quarter them and then place them in a food processor and puree. 

As usual, I can't leave well enough alone. After I made the first cake, I decided to dress it up a bit with a slivered almond crust. Once the pan has been buttered and floured, sprinkle on a layer of slivered almonds.

I did add 1 other ingredient, and that was 1/2 cup of  shredded coconut. Love it!!!

Cook the cake as directed, place it on a serving plate, and dust with powdered sugar. As you can see, I was quite generous with the powdered sugar. 

The cake is moist, sweet, tangy, and most of all...DELICIOUS! I served the first cake that I made at a dinner party with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Everyone loved it. The second cake was not only eaten as a dessert, but for breakfast too! Why not? ;) 

You can find the recipe HERE

It's a cake that can be frozen and served at a later date. I have 6 oranges in the refrigerator that I have already boiled. Such a great way to use up oranges before they go bad. 

I know you will!!!

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Saturday, January 18, 2020

The Best Sewing Gift Ever!

It was a Christmas that I thought would be especially bleak. My father had recently left, and my mother was especially sad. It was our first Christmas alone, and we were over a thousand miles away from any family. But, under the tree was a gift for me. I opened it, and inside was a sewing pattern and fabric. As wonderful as that was, what made it all the more special was that the fabric that was in the box was the exact same fabric that was on the pattern envelope! Everything was in the box to recreate the garment that I saw. I just couldn't believe it, 2 black and white coordinates, and packages of white cording. 

Over the Christmas break, I made up the outfit, and of course wore it proudly on my first day back at school. I felt as though I was wearing a designer garment. 

I still have the pattern. The envelope is a little worse for wear, but everything is still intact, no missing pattern pieces.

I've decided to somewhat recreate the outfit. Rather than in the matching fabric, I am using a plaid wool flannel for the skirt, and a coordinating black cotton chambray for the shirt. 

Although 1 is cotton, and the other wool, I really like how the 2 coordinate. 

I'll do the version on the right just as I did when I had the coordinating fabric, but this time around, I won't add the big patch pockets. Rather than a contrasting piping, I'll just self pipe both the shirt and the skirt. 

The pattern is really just a basic shirt and a wrap skirt, but it's special. It takes me back to a time when my world had fallen apart, and yet, there under that tree was a gift that represented potential. As it was, it was just a box with a pattern and some fabric. But, with just a little effort, I had something that made me feel so very special.  

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Tuesday, January 14, 2020

2020, New Goals

January 14th may be a little late for a reflection back on 2019, but reflection is never bad unless we choose to linger there.

Like all years, 2019 had it's ups and downs;
*I broke my arm and missed out on the ski season
*My step-father died
*We had to say goodbye to our Gracie

While those things seem bad, I am reminded of a quote from President John F. Kennedy;

When written in Chinese, the word 'crisis' is composed of two characters. One represents danger, and the other represents opportunity. 

Very profound. 
While there were many other things that happened that could be looked upon as not the best of things, just as there were with anyone who happens to read this, I'll focus on the 3 that I listed above.

Breaking my arm. The blessing; I had the opportunity to once again see my husband's devotion and incredible love for me. Never once did he complain about anything that he had to do.  

My step-father's death. His greatest fear was having to have his legs amputated, end up in a wheelchair, and ultimately in a home. While it was a shock for my mother, his passing was as easy as it could have been for him.

My dog Gracie. When she came to us, she was in awful shape, a huge cyst on her side, missing hair, and the hair that she had was so course and dry, she was starving. She died with me by her side, with a thick beautiful coat, a full stomach, and knowing that she was loved.

I'll share a lovely highlight from 2019;

"Hey Rhonda, 
Just wanted to reach out and thank you for our flight today. It was somewhat of a "learning experience" for me as an instructor...but your experience, and professionalism helped me so much, especially in expanding my personal minimums. You have a very calm demeanor, and you fly the airplane like an expert. I'm very much looking forward to our next flight together."

In all my years of flying, I have NEVER been paid such a compliment! That's a note that I will not throw away!!!  

Like many of you, I too set goals for 2019. Some I accomplished, and some I did not. I am most proud of 1 accomplished goal, and that was reading through the Bible. I read it as though I was reading any book, beginning to end. What an incredible journey it was! I downloaded a daily guide that kept in my journal, so every morning when I would sit down to write, the guide was there to remind me, and guide me.

I found the reading to be quite easy, just 3 or 4 chapters per day. I was one of those kids in school who loved getting gold stars on my homework, so being able to check off the daily reading assignment was right up my alley ;) 

As I read, there were so many passages that I wanted to keep track of, so the backs of my pages are filled with all of my notes.

If by chance you think that you would like to do something similar to this, HERE'S a link to the chart that I used. You can download it without any obligation. 

Back in August of 2019, I decided that I wanted a particular type of  planner, something that would give me the space to write down not only my appointments, but my daily, weekly, and yearly goals. Low and behold, I went to Walgreens(a drug store), and found exactly what I wanted.

I think the planner was intended for a teacher, but who cares?!! It was what I wanted. It began in August of 2019, and runs through January of 2021.  

It has the typical daily appointment calendar.

Larger spaces for day-to-day things. I use this to write out all that I would like to accomplish each day. On the right hand side is a place for notes. I use this to keep my goals in front of me. What I learned from reading through the Bible last year is that goals can easily be met when we take small, consistent, daily steps toward the goal.

In the back of the book are maybe 40 pages for notes. Here I keep a running log of the books that I have read, the knitting projects that I have accomplished, as well as my master goal list for the year. 

At this point, I have a list of 12 things that I would like to accomplish. Most I will keep to myself, but I'll share a couple;

Last fall, I enrolled Berkley in a training class that would ultimately lead to him earning his therapy dog certification. In November, Berkley completed level 3. He has level 4 to complete, and then he'll be ready for the actual certification training. I'm so very proud of him, and I have so enjoyed the learning process as well. I hope to have this all completed by the 1st of June. 

Just a crazy thing, ever since I learned to fly, I have wanted to earn a seaplane rating. Landing in the water is just something that I want to do, and not because I have to, i.e. an accident! The rating won't mean anything other than having accomplished the training. I'm saving that for sometime in July.

I do have sewing goals, creative goals, spiritual goals, and health goals. 

One last thing that I would like to share, I have a friend that I talk with each and every week. We set our time together as though it is a business meeting, knowing that at 9 o'clock on Thursday morning, we will be talking to each other. We miss from time to time, life can get in the way, but our time together is important and we try to keep our appointment. We share our goals for the year. We keep each other accountable by asking how we are doing with our goals, and we offer each other advice. Our conversation lasts for just about an hour, and it is by far, the best hour of my week. I highly recommend finding a friend that you can trust to share your life and goals with. It makes such a huge difference! 

Here's to a new year with new opportunities! May we all accomplish something wonderful in this new year.


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Sunday, January 12, 2020